University of Hawaii at Manoa Library


Korea Collection


Korean Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) is the premier program in the United States, with the largest concentration of scholars and resources outside of Korea itself. The Center for Korean Studies (CKS) was established in 1972. It provides administrative support for Korea-related programs within the instructional system of the University and a focus for the activities of the students and faculty members at the University with teaching and research interests related to Korea. The Center does not confer degrees.

Students pursue Korean studies through degree programs administered by the University of Hawaii, which offers a B.A. and a M.A. degree in Asian Studies, and a Graduate Certificate of Asian Studies. Other Korea-focused programs, including doctoral degrees, are offered as well. As of 2008, UHM offers a total of 86 Korea-related courses, with 47 courses focused on Korea itself - by far the most offered at any Western university. Courses are offered in fields such as art, Asian studies, dance, economics, history, language, linguistics, literature, music, political science, and sociology. Since 2005 the UHM has also been home to the Korean Flagship Program, which aims to prepare American students to be able to function in Korean as professionals in their chosen academic or occupational fields. The UHM is one of only two American campuses designated a Korean Flagship Program university.


Resources on Korea in the humanities and social sciences, regardless of language, place of publication, and format, are collected by the Korea Specialist Librarian. Materials on Korea in Russian language are collected with the cooperation between the Korea Specialist Librarian and the Russian Bibliographer.

Publications from the United States government, the United Nations and its affiliates, and the World Bank; maps; audio-visual materials; and the science and technology materials on Korea are collected by the librarians of these respective departments, sometimes in coordination with the Korea Specialist librarian. These materials are housed in their respective departments. Selective collection of government documents and science and technology materials may be developed by the Korea Specialist Librarian and housed in the Asia Collection.

Resources on Koreans in Hawaii are collected by the Hawaiian Collection librarians, sometimes in coordination with the Korea Specialist Librarian. Materials on Koreans in the United States are selected by the librarians in the Business, Humanities, and Social Sciences Department and the Korea Specialist Librarian. Materials about Koreans in all other countries are collected by the Korea Specialist Librarian.

The Center for Korean Studies (CKS) transfers materials received as gifts to the Korea Collection of Hamilton Library, when such gift items are not already held by the Collection. The Center maintains its own library collection, which houses duplicate materials from the Korea Collection. The Center also houses microfilms of retrospective runs of Korean newspapers and American dissertations on Korea and audio-visual materials, which were mostly collected in the 1970's and the 1980's.

CKS also holds some special collections. Among these is the Tongjihoe Collection which contains records and materials generated by the organization to support the provisional government of Korea after the return of Syngman Rhee to Hawaii in 1921. This archival collection covers the years from 1925 to 1970.

Since the academic year 1994-1995, the Korea Collection has been participating in a cooperative collection development program as a member of the Korean Collections Consortium of North America, which is supported by the Korea Foundation. The third five year agreement with the Korea Foundation covers the years of 2006-2011. As of 2008, the Consortium had twelve members: University of Hawaii at Manoa; Columbia University; Harvard University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Chicago; University of Southern California; University of Toronto; and University of Washington, Seattle; University of Michigan; Stanford University; and the University of British Columbia. Under this agreement UHM is responsible for collecting materials on architecture and urban planning, Korean history before 1392, traditional music, modern social conditions, foreign language materials (other than Chinese, Japanese, and English), and materials published in Korea or about Koreans in Russia. The Collection is also responsible for collecting regional resources on Cheju-do.


Language: No limitations, but materials in Korean and English languages are emphasized, the collection seeks especially to be comprehensive in current imprints in English language in the humanities and social sciences.

Chronological: No limitations.

Geographic: Korea includes both North and South Korea.

Date of Publication: The emphasis is on current imprints, but retrospective materials are also sought, particularly in cases of purchase recommendations by faculty or to fill collection gaps.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected: Print and non-print materials are all collected: monographs, serials, conference papers, reference works, government documents, maps, audio-visual materials, microforms, and electronic resources both on CD-ROM and online. In terms of DVD purchases, every effort is made to procure DVDs formatted for Region 1 (North America).

Textbooks: Standard course textbooks are not collected. Language learning textbooks are excluded except as examples or representative works in learning Korean. A small historical collection of Korean public school textbooks from the twentieth century is maintained for their value as historical artifacts and potential value to research.

Electronic Format:

Treatment: Nearly all subjects in the humanities and social sciences are acquired. Selective publications in science and technology when they reflect the aspects of culture and society of Korea are also collected.

Major Microform Holdings: The library holds the Imanishi Hakushi Shushu Chosenbon (Dr. Imanishi collection of Korean historical sources in Sino-Korean, owned by Tenri Central Library, Japan); Kyujunggak Collection (archival material from the Yi dynasty royal library); and Sinhan minbo (newspaper). It also holds the Records of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church for Korea.


The Korea Collection receives a large number of academic and research materials on Korea via the Library's Gift & Exchange agreements with research institutions and libraries in Korea: the Korea Foundation, the National Institute of Korean History, the Korea Film Council, the Academy of Korean Studies, the Seoul National University, the National Assembly Library, and the National Library of Korea. Materials from research institutions are often not-for-sale, so it is very important to keep up good working relationships with these organizations through mutual G&E programs and through interpersonal contacts which can be developed during acquisition trips to Korea. It is also a valuable supplement to our limited acquisition budget.

Compiled by: Daniel Kane
Date: July 2008

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